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Lexington crisis communications workshop for sport: how to protect your brand


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Jo Bullen and Caroline Nagle from Lexington Communications discuss how to protect your brand.

Presented at the Sport and Recreation Alliance's Sports Summit 2014.

Published in: Sports, Education, Business
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Lexington crisis communications workshop for sport: how to protect your brand

  1. 1. Crisis Communications: How to protect your brand Sports Summit 2014 Jo Bullen and Caroline Nagle
  2. 2. Who are we? Jo Bullen Issues management expert with nearly 20 years experience Caroline Nagle Crisis management expert from public to private sector
  3. 3. Agenda for next hour • Knowing when you’re dealing with an issue and when it’s a crisis • Protecting your brand • What to do when an issue hits • Breakout • Questions
  5. 5. What is an issue? An issue is a non-acute risk to an organisation’s strategic, commercial or reputational interests that, left unmanaged, can escalate to a crisis. Internal drivers: • Performance • Behaviour • Supply chain • Change External drivers: • Politics & policy • Societal impact • Affects whole sector • Impacts multiple stakeholders
  6. 6. Examples of issues
  7. 7. What is a crisis? A crisis is a highly-unusual situation or incident that presents a significant and immediate commercial, reputational, financial or strategic risk to your organisation that must be dealt with decisively and effectively. External incident: • Security • Natural events • Terrorism External issues: • Policy & politics • Regulator Internal incident: • Safety Internal issues: • Behaviour • Governance
  8. 8. Examples of crisis
  9. 9. Example crisis: Qatar FIFA bribes • The Sunday Times published emails from Qatari officials to African FA members detailing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes at the time of the 2022 World Cup vote • The news broke on 1st June and was instantly picked up by news outlets all over the world • Many high profile football officials are now embroiled in this ongoing scandal
  10. 10. Lifecycle of an issue - FIFAGravity of Issue Time Vulnerability/ problem Issue Problem not addressed/solved Growing internal/ external concern Discussions among key influencers The issue hits top-tier media Issue is out of control – Risk of inappropriate response Potential damage to business and reputation Crisis Growing social media noise Accusations of corruption during Qatari bid not addressed at the time Triggered media speculation including a Sunday Times investigation The Sunday Times publish emails alleging bribes were made
  11. 11. How the media behaves Fast moving Needs new angles 24/7 Multi- platform Blame/Victim Bad news makes great news
  12. 12. Knowing you’re in crisis  Key stakeholders are involved or impacted  It’s been picked up rapidly and widely by national media or is leading the news agenda  The authorities need to be involved  Location affected (e.g. strike/accident)?  Interested parties are commenting publicly  Wide spread debate on social media, trending on Twitter
  13. 13. Taking time to breathe Don't believe the first thing you hear -- the sky may not be falling Is our organisation the sole focus or is this wider? How much trouble are we in? Establish the facts Act like a journalist -- ask questions, ask questions, ask questions
  15. 15. Risks and issues planning Horizon scanning and scenario planning Develop positioning and communications strategy Stakeholder audit and outreach Crisis & media training Crisis response testing
  16. 16. Being prepared Crisis communications manual Define the leaders Process / roles & responsibilities Core crisis team contact details Key messages and FAQ – don’t start from scratch with each crisis Key facts & figures Support materials
  17. 17. Proactive Issues Management Gravity of Issue Time Vulnerability/ problem Issues Prevention Issues Management Crisis Management Issues are managed/ controlled Crisis is avoided/contained to issues management Issues Prevention Issues Manage- ment Crisis Manage- ment
  18. 18. Theory into practice Gravity of Issue Time Vulnerability/ problem Issues Prevention Crisis Management Problem persists Issues are managed/ controlled Crisis is avoided/contained to issues management News of Ryan Giggs’s affair comes out Manchester United PR response Sift focus from private life to football Issues Manage- ment Crisis Manage- ment
  20. 20. Awareness during a crisis Information is often the first casualty of a crisis Issues broaden beyond the facts or the incident - they call your whole reputation into question Facts often become distorted and exaggerated Emotion overtakes fact and objectivity is lost
  21. 21. If a crisis hits Alert - follow crisis comms guidelines Define audiences - who needs to know? Start writing - clarifies thinking Three key messages easy to understand - details go under those messages
  22. 22. Always be Honest Clear Quick Humble Demonstrate leadership and authority
  23. 23. The don’t forgets Always • Know what is victory • Understand that sometimes the best work never sees print • Keep it simple – no corporate speak or jargon • Protect leadership • Rapid response to media is important but don't let media pressure skew decision-making process • Keep communicating Remember internal • Employees best source of information to family and friends • Be prepared to deal with internal rumours, keep the message consistent • Communications acts as outside spokesperson -- leader communicates to employees • Internal communications can quickly become external communications via social media – have a policy in place Watch-outs • The lawyers and regulatory – be appropriate and honest • Group-think • Losing your head – maintain serenity • Lack of relationships
  24. 24. If you’re in charge? No surprises Play a key advisory role Provide timely accurate information – don’t speculate No-one changes your questions – they help you with the answers
  25. 25. Post-crisis 1. Evaluate and learn lessons 2. Understand what went wrong & change 3. Win back trust and reputation Manage crisis well Stakeholder outreach Rebuild internal reputation Say something new Make changes
  26. 26. And finally • Don't be surprised and be prepared • Anything can happen and usually does • Know the facts first • Communication is a boardroom issue
  27. 27. BREAKOUTS
  28. 28. Crisis simulation • Situation – You are Head of Comms for the Lawn Tennis Association – a private email from your Chief Executive has leaked to a national newspaper containing sexist comments, the story appears. – A group of former tennis professionals lead by Sue Barker have called for the Chief Executive to resign over the emails as it’s causing negative publicity ahead of Wimbledon – You’ve just been in a meeting with the under fire CEO who has refused to resign and you have a long list of journalists who require a response • Where would you start?
  29. 29. QUESTIONS?